Meet John D.

​John D. Eisenfelt was an intelligent boy. In primary school nobody really could get a hold on him. Being a second generation farmer from East Prussia, he had a different perspective on things. John D was sometimes bullied, but he got everyone to the point in starting discussions with him. And in achieving this, he was the undisputed champion. In everything he did, John D. used some basic principles, such as: You only know if someone is your friend when you quarrel with him. So John D had a fight with everyone at least once. He reckoned that those who were ‘on speaking terms’ again in no time were his friends.

During high school, John D. had an eye for girls. He studied them from a distance slowly realizing that he was dealing with a special group of people, individuals who in many ways resembled each other, but at the same time showed characteristics that sometimes attracted him, yet at other times not at all. Girls with an intelligent and positive attitude were counted in John D’s target group. He wanted to get in touch with them.

One girl in particular proved highly attractive: Sandy, a very popular girl. He very much wanted to win her over. But how? John D tried to move into her thoughts, and after thorough preparation he dared to go to Sandy and ask her about her passion for astronomy. Sandy was pleasantly surprised by this question. She could share her passion with very few boys and girls of her age. Most did not understand her. John D kept asking questions and gave her tips. Within two months Sandy gave in.

Twenty years later John D and Sandy are waving off their three children as they leave for high school in the morning. In that time ‘the Principles’ of John D. Eisenfelt have become legend in the United States. They were applied in various fields of science. “It’s not what it is or what it does, but what it contributes to” he once said during a speech at a prestigious university. It often formed the basis for a whole new perspective, a new way of looking at all kinds of more or less entrenched businesses. In addition, John D. was a visionary.

John D. had already predicted that computers would connect to one another to allow the exchange of information, products and services around the world in the 1950s. This would not only make the markets transparent, but customers could easily compare vendors and buy from anywhere, while suppliers would have the ability to offer products and services worldwide. In the 21st century, competition would intensity, growth markets would mature faster, companies would increasingly resemble each other and customers would ultimately become the boss. Really understanding this and quickly responding to current and future needs and creating lasting relationships with the client are opportunities for creating sustainable distinctiveness.

His chief merits, as John D. Eisenfelt told himself, were not his visions or principles. His work had only one goal… to raise questions. Hence he always ended his speeches with:

​If you have a problem, try to find the question, not the answer

The John D. Eisenfelt Principle

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